When it comes to top-shelf watchmakers originating from Asia, there are not many that can better Citizen. After all, the brand belongs to the Holy Trio of well-known and loved Japanese manufacturers that also includes Seiko and Orient.
Citizen is also one of the oldest watch brands out there.
Throughout its history spanning over a century now, the Tokyo-based watchmaker has made some great contributions to the ever-developing horological industry which you can read in our Citizen brand review.
One of Citizen’s strongest selling points is the fact that despite offering reliable and brilliantly crafted timepieces, it caters to folks with varying budgets.
Certainly, if you’re not willing to dig deeper in your pockets, you might not get a Citizen PCAT model or some of the top Citizen dive watches. With that said, the list of Citizen timepieces available in the low-to-mid price basket is really huge.
The goal of today’s article is to help you pick the cheapest Citizen watch in 2021. To do that, we’ve collected 7 models with varying designs and functionalities.
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- Lowest Price Overall: Citizen BI1030-53A
- Cheapest Leather: Citizen BF0580-06E
- Cheapest Chronograph: Citizen AN3394-59L
- Cheapest Gold-Tone: Citizen BI5012-53E
- Cheapest Automatic: Citizen NH8354-58A
- Cheapest Ladies: Citizen EJ5850-57E
- Cheapest Diver: Citizen NY0040-17LE
Cheapest Citizen Watches (Top 7 Reviewed)
We open up today’s list with the only Citizen timepiece available below the $100 mark. As things stand, the BI1030-53A model is the cheapest Citizen watch we could find online.
Design-wise, the watch oscillates in the dressy spectrum (read also: Classiest Men’s Watches). Some people refer to the model as the more affordable version of the Seiko SARX. It comes with a stainless steel case with a diameter of 42mm and a solid caseback. The 3-link bracelet is made from the same material. The relatively massive lugs make the watch wear bigger than the 42mm size would suggest so bear that in mind if you have a tiny wrist.
The silver-and-cream-tone dial features a three-hand configuration. The hour and minute hands are luminescent while the second hand is painted blue. The face features massive hour indices and very tiny hour markers. At 6 o’clock there’s a date display window and at noon o’clock the Citizen logo.
The dial window is made from scratch-resistant mineral crystal. The watch is also water-resistant up to 30m.
Citizen BI1030-53A is a watch powered by a Japanese quartz movement. It provides an accuracy of +/- 15-20 seconds/month.
Are you a fan of the more elegant leather strap watches? Citizen BF0580-06E is currently the cheapest timepiece of this type.
The model features a nicely-polished stainless steel case measuring 39mm in diameter and a solid caseback. The black Croco-embossed leather band comes with standard buckle closure.
The black watch dial includes three silver-tone watch hands and stick indices – the larger for hours and the smaller for minutes. Such a color combination looks really neat, especially since the band and the case use the same approach. The hour and minute hands are luminescent. At three o’clock there’s a day and date window while at noon o’clock the Citizen label.
The timepiece provides solid protection against face damage in the form of mineral crystal glass. The water-resistance rating is 3ATM (30m).
The Japanese quartz movement ensures excellent accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
If sporty watches are your thing, Citizen AN3394-59L is the cheapest chronograph model available.
The fact that it’s relatively small (just 39mm in diameter) is quite unusual for a chronograph watch as these are known for busily arranged dials. Hence, some might find the feature-rich face of this model a bit difficult to read.
Both the case and the 3-link bracelet are made from stainless steel. The watch has a solid caseback and two additional pushers on each side of the crown, used to operate the chronograph function. It’s also equipped with a stationary bezel.
The shiny blue dial certainly catches the eye. Its main characteristic, the three chronograph sub-dials, which can measure hours, minutes, and seconds. The gold-tone hands and indices are filled with lume, ensuring easy reading in any light. At three o’clock positioned is a date window. Next to it, the Citizen logo. It barely fits!
Similar to the previous two models discussed above, this one uses a mineral crystal glass. However, with a 10ATM (100m) water resistance rating, it offers much bigger protection in this field.
Naturally for a chronograph, the watch runs on a quartz movement. The Japanese caliber ensures accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
A fan of a bit more flashy and head-turning gold-tone design? Citizen BI5012-53E is currently the cheapest timepiece of this type.
The watch arrives with a stainless steel case and bracelet. Both are gold-tone. The case measures 40mm in diameter and has a solid caseback.
Although the black dial looks pretty modern, it’s also very minimalistic. It features three gold-tone hands and gold-tone hour markers positioned at 3, 6, 9, and noon o’clock. The remaining indices are dark grey which some people might find a tad difficult to read. At noon o’clock position is a date window.
Characteristically for Citizen watch models in this price range, the timepiece uses a mineral crystal dial window. On the waterproofing front, it can withstand depths of up to 50m.
The BI5012-53E model is powered by a Japanese quartz movement. Accuracy-wise, it shouldn’t gain or lose more than 15 seconds monthly.
If you prioritize the bigger complexity of automatic movements over the unbeatable accuracy of quartz watches, you might find this model really tempting. Having been released in 2010, NH8354-58A is the oldest timepiece on today’s list. However, due to incredibly low pricing (for an automatic watch), it’s still largely popular amongst aficionados.
The all-stainless steel model comes with a 7-link silver-and-gold-tone bracelet and a 40mm case using the same theme. The most visible parts of the case, the bezel and the crown, are gold tone. The watch has a solid caseback.
Because of the large Roman numerals on a snow-white background, the timepiece has a bit of a vintage feel to it. Between the hour markers, there are also minute indices. Pointing to those are three gold-tone hands, two of which (hour and minute) are luminescent.
On the durability front, the watch is equipped with mineral crystal glass and water resistance up to 50m.
The timepiece is powered by a Japanese automatic movement, delivering an accuracy of +/- 25-30 seconds/day.
A list of the cheapest Citizen watches wouldn’t feel complete without a ladies-only model. At the time of writing, EJ5850-57E is the lowest-priced timepiece for women.
The watch exhibits the so-called Tank style due to its distinct rectangular casing. Cartier was the first to offer it, but it has since become a popular element for numerous manufacturers. The case is 18mm in diameter and constructed of stainless steel. The caseback is solid. A 7-link stainless steel bracelet is also included with the watch.
The pitch-black background combines neatly with the silver-tone hands and hour indices. It’s very minimalistic in style. You can find Roman numerals at 6 o’clock and 12 o’clock (which also features the Citizen logo).
The watch uses solid protection against dial damage in the form of mineral crystal. It’s also equipped with modest water resistance up to 3ATM (30m).
Citizen EJ5850-57E runs on a Japanese quartz movement with an accuracy of +/- 15 seconds/month.
Although some of the most refined Citizen dive watches approach the $1,000 mark, you can still get a reliable model that won’t break the bank. NY0040-17LE is the perfect example.
It’s one of the favorites amongst folks looking for a lasting yet affordable dive watch.
The watch comes with a 42mm stainless steel case (with a solid caseback) and a polyurethane strap. The uni-directional bezel, an ever-present element of dive timepieces, is often referred to as “Tuna” because of how it resembles a can of fish. The bezel is of great help when measuring elapsed time underwater.
Because of the massive hands and hour markers that strongly glow in the dark, the watch is super legible in any light. At three o’clock there’s also a day and date window. The crown is in a bit unusual place, positioned at 8 o’clock.
Protecting the face against cracks and scratches is mineral crystal glass. The dive watch is water-resistant up to 200m. The water resistance is ISO-certified, meaning the timepiece is suitable for scuba diving at depths. However, the rating is too low for saturation diving.
Citizen NY0040-17LE is the second automatic watch on today’s list. It provides an accuracy of +/- 20 seconds/day.
If you’d like to explore more ultra-affordable watches from popular brands, check out our other lists:
- Cheapest Seiko Watches
- Cheapest Bulova Timepieces
- Cheapest G-Shocks
- Cheapest Iced-Out Watches
- Cheapest Tissot Watches
Alternatively, if you’re on the edge about which of the two outstanding Japanese watchmakers to pick, read our Citizen vs Seiko comparison.
Also, don’t hesitate to use the comment section below to let us know which Citizen watch, if any, you opted for. Let’s interact!